Lets begin with “where wine starts” – well, it starts in the vineyard naturally. Without good grapes it is said that not even the best winemakers can make a good wine.
Which leads to my escapades as a member of CLK Winery. Together with 2 friends, beginning in 2007, we decided to make our own wine. We took whatever grapes we were able to get our hands on in 2007 and made a Merlot/Zinfandel blend. Believe it or not it seemed to come out OK. Sure enough several months after we bottled (without any lab testing) the wine went through a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Yikes. Fear not, no exploding bottles. We dumped whatever we had not yet drunk (or given away) back into the tank so that it could complete malolactic.
As to 2008, we really wanted a Cabernet. Unfortunately, our schedules are pretty tight and we were forced to do our crush on a set specific day. So we went to go by the grapes and sure enough there were Cab grapes – and we bought them. Sadly though as soon as we brought them back to the (very psuedo) winery I knew we messed up. Our grapes we not fully ripe and they we going to lead to a thin & green wine.
Well, yesterday was back to work at the winery. Tasting, racking and overall seeing what we’ve got.
The 2007 blend seems to be doing well. Some minor issues, but not a huge deal. And the 2008 is shaping up to look like a sub-par batch. Not that we expected otherwise, just disappointing.
I am writing about this less than positive experience as we all agreed that our first two vintages have taught us a good lesson. Some bad decisions and no real winemaker could have been overcome had we started off with good quality grapes. But beginning with fruit that was not the best, and combining that with poor winemaking – a recipe for disaster & something we will hopefully avoid. As to our “special reserve couvee”… well, time to wake up from that dream. Hey, at least we have lots of cooking wine!
Happy HIGH QUALITY VINEYARD FRUIT wine tasting!